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#22: Why You Need to Think About Branding Your Farm (Part 1)

Most farmers think they don’t need a “brand,” or if they do, branding consists of a logo, website fonts/colors, tagline, mission statement — or maybe all your followers on social media.

And I’m here to tell you that your website, logo, and fonts are NOT branding!

Those things are only one piece to the key lime pie.

So if you want to know it takes to build a brand, this blog is for you.

To help you get started, I’ve created a Branding Bundle for you to download with worksheets. Just click here to get started.

Listen to the full episode here to learn more!

When I first started milking cows 10 yrs ago, I didn’t have a website and I didn’t think branding mattered to a small farm like me.

I didn’t really think I needed branding. Why? Because I only had three cows and I was “small.”

I thought I was too small to worry about branding and boy was I wrong!

Guess what? No matter how small you are today, you DO need to think about building your brand.

It’s what sets you apart from your competition!

As a matter of fact, your branding makes the competition irrelevant. When you have a clear brand, there is no competition.

“I just wanted to milk my cows and sell milk.”

I thought I had to tell customers that I had the cleanest milk out there! This was over 10 years ago and my marketing, blog and Facebook posts were all about how clean my milk was and that it came from grass-fed cows.

That approach okay, and I did need to educate my customers, but it didn’t make me stand out. People didn’t notice me and they really didn’t care how “great I was.”

Then I learned what farm branding really was. From that point on, I was hooked!

I realized people were coming to the farm because of my story — not because I had the best raw milk. They came for an experience that they can’t get at the local grocery store. They came because of me.

THAT IS BRANDING to a farmer! When my customer came to visit, we laughed, we talked, and they felt good when they left.

And in return, they stayed longer and bought more. They didn’t take an hour-long trip to my farm because I used the latest font or hired the best web designer.

They came because I started branding my farm from a different perspective.

“A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one service or another.”    — Seth Godin

When you have a relationship coupled with a unique story, that’s how your customers decide who to buy from.

What branding is NOT:

  • Having the cleanest milk
  • The cheapest beef
  • The pastured chickens on grass the most amount of days per year
  • Chemical-free/organic vegetables or flowers
  • Fonts/colors/graphics

So if branding isn’t about having the best milk or a modern website, then what is branding?

Branding is all about relationships and getting to know your ideal customer.

How to Connect & Communicate With Your Ideal Customers

Learning what your ideal customer goals are and why they love visiting your farm is a great way to start building a relationship.

Conveying how you can help them solve a problem (or reach a goal) — is the quickest and best way to grow a profitable, long-term farm.

How to Connect With Local Customers:

  1. Connect one-on-one
  2. Grow your email list
  3. Visit other farms
  4. Connect with like-minded farmers
  5. Give away free samples
  6. Teach and educate your customers
  7. Build referrals with local businesses
  8. Encourage sharing your info/story
  9. Give gratitude to those who do buy
  10. Create an outstanding customer experience when working with you
  11. Start small with baby steps

To read more about the ways I grew my farm in the first two years, click here!

You’ve got to communicate your value to your customers.

And your value is not that your beef cows are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, or that your hogs are a special breed that chefs love.

Instead, when you know your customers inside and out you’ll find they use your products for very different reasons than you might think.

For instance, maybe you found out your ideal customer had her 40th birthday and she decided to run her first ½ marathon.

In preparing to train, she learned that if she changed her diet she’d have more energy.

How can you be the solution to that?

List 5 ways your products can increase HER energy. Once you have that list, you’re ready to start the branding process.

You know who you’re talking to and how you can solve her problem.

“People buy from people.”

You are your brand. Your message, your values, the solutions you offer — THAT is your brand.

When you show up and share your story, it will resonate with your ideal customer.

Money and competition are irrelevant when your story resonates with theirs.

Farm branding is what sets you apart, builds confidence and allows you the freedom to become a profitable farm.

Want the complete podcast transcript? Click HERE.

Now it’s your turn, in the comments, tell me how you’ll start connecting with ideal customers today?

branding bundle

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Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Click here for the transcript!

 

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Louie Hangad February 24, 2019, 8:05 pm

    Hi there Charlotte, so I am in my 2nd year of farmingg with my pastured chicken. So what am I doing and still working on it today is I’m making my little recipe book with some educational knowledge on it with my product and how it may help with their day to day living.

  • Brenda Visser January 23, 2020, 7:15 am

    I have been putting a lot of thought into this lately, of how to hook my ideal customer. I also was a women’s luncheon where we were discussing «  What is your WHY? » I went back to when I first started this venture, and remembered that I wanted my flowers to be a boost for people’s outlook, no matter the circumstance. The tag line on my logo/website had always been «Flowers of the Field- Locally, sustainably grown » but I have since changed it to «Flowers of the Field- Food for the Soul » This also fits in well with the veggie markets that I am part of, and speaks to a holistic health mentality which I am strong believer in. I am very happy with the change!

    • Charlotte January 24, 2020, 12:58 pm

      I LOVE this, Brenda!! I’m so happy it helped you. I know your customers will connect with this 🙂 xoxo

      -Charlotte

  • Sherri Wood January 23, 2020, 8:37 am

    Today (and thanks for the timely posting of today’s lesson) I am meeting with the Director of Sales of a new boutique hotel which is 15 miles from my lavender farm. I’ll be taking free samples and I’ll be listening to ideas she may have about how to support their love of the local community.

    • Charlotte January 24, 2020, 12:59 pm

      So excited to hear this, Sherri!!! How did it go with the meeting??

      Thanks for being here!!

      -Charlotte

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